A season of double identities


Ask people what their favorite season is, and many will say fall (or is it fall?).

I would agree. I’ve always considered fall (or is it fall?) my favorite season. I enjoy the clean, crisp, fresh air and the unique beauty that the landscapes hold.

For me, fall (or is it fall?) is indeed the “prettiest” time of the year, when the temperatures are not extreme and the air masses of the Ozarks are generally lacking in excessive humidity. Basically, fall (or is it fall?) is kind of like how Goldilocks felt about the third bowl of porridge in “The Tale of the Three Bears”: that’s right.

Or it could be, anyway. Of course, the record low and high temperatures in autumn (or is it autumn?)

But what about a two-name season? I don’t know if I would call it confusing, because the English language – in all its weirdness – has lots of instances where more than one word exists to describe the same thing. But I sometimes wonder what to call this third season of three that are entirely contained within a calendar year, though I guess I use “autumn” more often, like most people.

I have to say it’s interesting that the same issue doesn’t exist for the other three seasons, as they don’t have an alias assigned to them. But for about three months of every year, we face the dilemma of more or less taking sides in an ongoing game of ‘naming this season’.

And it’s not like the “Missour-ee” versus “Missour-uh” thing. These are just variations on the pronunciation of a single word, and we’re talking about two entirely different words here.

I guess there’s something to be said for not taking sides and going back and forth between the two names in the season (like some politicians do when pronouncing the Show Me State name). But for some reason, that doesn’t seem fair either. I can’t put my finger on why – it just isn’t.

With origins in both French and Latin, forms of the word “autumn” were probably used as early as the 12th century and became common by the 16th century. Meanwhile, the word “fall” dates back to the old Germanic language, and the term came into wide use in England in the 1500s, as a kind of shortened version of “fall of a leaf” and one or two more sentences related to things. fall.

As fall eventually gave way to autumn in Britain, settlers in North America clung to autumn as the preferred nickname for the season, and it continues to be the most commonly used in America today. But that doesn’t mean fall is completely over. On the contrary; a version with a capital “A” was No. 66 in the list of the top 1,000 names for baby girls in 2021.

And what about summer, winter and spring? Are we to believe that they don’t deserve to have a second name?

Believe me, I would have little trouble finding other names for them. For example, the alternate title for winter could be derived from any Latin word for “ice”, or we could just say “freeze”, as in a shortened version of “toe freeze” and others. frozen expressions.

But maybe it would make more sense to have a name for each season instead of adding one to the three that only have one each. After all, simplification is always in fashion, and less is more, right?

Either way, the season we’re in right now is beautiful, whatever you call it. It’s a great time to get out and wet a line, dig in the yard, paint an outbuilding, walk a dog, or just take a walk. And you can do any of those things and be sure that after two minutes you won’t be drenched in sweat or have frost on your nose hairs.

As William Shakespeare wrote in his play “Romeo and Juliet”, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Autumn or fall – it’s quite mild.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and editorial assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: [email protected]


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